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Food Innovation Award Finalists Named

Innovations from 19 food and beverage companies have been shortlisted as finalists in the biennial Fi Europe Innovation Awards. Many submissions were received from around the world for innovative ingredients created in 2015, across categories ranging from bakery to dairy and savoury to organic. This year the shortlisted candidates are: AAK, Ingredion, FrieslandCampina Kievit, CHR Hansen, IOI-Loders Croklaan, Avebe, Arla Foods Ingredients, Dutch Spices, Probi AB, Salt of the Earth, Scelta Mushrooms, ADM, Fiberstar,Inc, ENRICO GIOTTI SPA, and Roquette.

Chair of the judging panel, The Healthy Marketing Team President Peter Wenstromm, said it was a duty and a joy to be celebrating the companies who carry the torch for innovation. “In a time when innovation in the food industry is challenged by financial pressure, regulatory barriers and consumer distrust, it is vital that we continue to recognise the efforts of the companies that are still innovating,” he said.

The winners will be announced at Fi Europe in Paris, a trade show dedicated to the food and beverage industry that brings together more than 20,000 industry members every two years.  The Fi Innovation Awards honor professionals and companies for their ability to demonstrate and stimulate innovation in the food industry under nine different categories. There is also an award for the Most Innovative Food Ingredient – the overall winner of the Fi Innovation Awards, as selected by the independent judging panel.

Wenstromm said worthy finalists had been selected in all categories and he was looking forward to announcing the winners in less than a month.  “In the meantime, I am pleased to announce Cargill as the winner of the Best Sustainability Innovation – for their affordable finance for cocoa farmer cooperatives,” he added. “We received an outstanding entry from Cargill, which was head and shoulders above the competition, so the judging panel agreed unanimously to declare them the winner.”

Gelson’s Wins Approval to Purchase Haggen Properties in Southern California

Gelson’s Markets, one of California’s premier supermarket chains, has won final approval to buy six Haggen properties in Southern California. Terms of the agreement were not announced.

Gelson’s successfully bid on the following six Haggen stores across five counties:

  • Los Angeles County: 2627 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica
  • Orange County: 25636 Crown Valley Parkway, Ladera Ranch
  • Riverside County: 36-101 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage
  • San Diego County: 2707 Via De La Valle, Del Mar; 730 Turquoise Street, San Diego
  • Ventura County: 1736 Avenida De Los Arboles, Thousand Oaks

“We’re excited to become part of these communities, a process that may take time in order to customize stores for each neighborhood,” said Gelson’s President & CEO Rob McDougall. “Our goal is to retain as many local Haggen workers as possible while also giving opportunities to existing Gelson’s employees, as well as others who wish to join the Gelson’s family.”

Haggen filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this past September. Gelson’s was selected as Stalking Horse bidder in mid-October and anticipates closing on the stores late this year. Gelson’s plans to relaunch its purchased stores early next year under its own brand with initial improvements to product selection and merchandising, followed several months later by redesign and construction. Existing pharmacies will remain open during the transition. In addition to the newly acquired locations, Gelson’s is on track to open new stores in Rancho Mission Viejo and Manhattan Beach.

McCrea’s Candies Named a 2016 Good Food Awards Finalist

McCrea’s Candies has been selected as a Good Food Awards Finalist. The Boston-based maker of small-batch handcrafted caramel secured its spot in the awards’ Confections Category.

Each year, the Good Food Awards celebrate tasty, real food that is responsibly made, and grants awards to outstanding American food producers and the farmers who provide their ingredients.

In further news, USA Today has recognized McCrea’s in its 10 Best “Best Gift for Foodies” competition. The contest features twenty exceptional products curated by a panel of food and travel experts. Readers of the national newspaper vote for their favorites. McCrea’s currently ranks fourth in the competition.

“We are thrilled that both The Good Food Awards and USA Today have recognized McCrea’s Candies as a company that not only produces exceptional caramel but one that strives to do good at the same time,” said Kate McCrea, the company’s co-founder. “It is important to us that we give back to our communities, pay a fair price for ingredients, and are environmentally responsible. All of which helps us on our mission to make world’s best caramel.”

The recognition from The Good Food Awards and USA Today comes hot on the heels of the company’s placement as a finalist in the Martha Stewart Living American Made Awards. In addition, McCrea’s Candies caramels were awarded the Yankee Magazine Editor’s Choice Food Award in 2014 and named Best New Autumn Product at the 2013 New England Made Specialty Food Show. McCrea’s Candies also received Best Candy honors at the 2012 New England Dessert Showcase.

McCrea’s Candies was founded by husband-wife team Jason and Kate McCrea. Building upon backgrounds in biology and chemistry, the McCrea’s transitioned into the sweet science of candy making after double layoffs. Started in a home kitchen, McCrea’s Candies now offers a full line of mouthwatering caramels to retail outlets throughout North America.

The hallmark of the McCrea’s Candies line is its use of striking seasonings to produce provocatively-flavored caramel candies. McCrea’s flagship product features Hawaiian black lava sea salt swirled into caramel to provide a salty-sweet mouthful. Basil and cayenne are combined for a heat and sweet treat. Additional flavor combinations include ginger fusion, curried butternut, and rosemary truffle sea salt. McCrea’s also offers such classic flavors as vanilla, scotch, chocolate, maple, mocha, and coffee.



FDA Releases Foreign Supplier Verification Program Final Rule

 On November 13, 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released its final rule for Foreign Supplier Verification Programs (FSVP) for Food for Humans and Animals. This rule is part of FDA’s implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).  Most importers will be required to comply with FDA’s FSVP rule in May 2017 (18 months after publication).

FDA defines an FSVP as a program that verifies “that [importers’] foreign suppliers are producing food in a manner that provides the same level of public health protection as the preventive controls or produce safety regulations, as appropriate, and to ensure that the supplier’s food is not adulterated and is not misbranded with respect to allergen labeling.”  The FSVP rule covers importers of food and beverages, which FDA defines as “the U.S. owner or consignee of a food offered for import into the United States.” If there is no U.S. owner or consignee, the exporter’s U.S. agent is the importer.

Importers must create an FSVP for each food imported from each foreign supplier.  If they import the same food from two different suppliers, that will require two FSVPs.  One element of an FSVP is a hazard analysis.  Importers must determine potential biological, chemical, and physical hazards posed by each food they import.

Importers must also evaluate the performance of each of their foreign suppliers and use that evaluation to approve suppliers.  This includes evaluating each supplier’s history of compliance with FDA food safety regulations, “including whether the foreign supplier is the subject of an FDA warning letter or import alert.”  Importers should only import from approved foreign suppliers.

For approved foreign suppliers, importers must determine appropriate supplier verification activities, conduct those activities, and conduct corrective actions.  Examples of verification activities may include annual on-site audits of a supplier’s facility, sampling and testing, and review of a supplier’s food safety records.  Importers should choose verification activities that appropriately fit the risks of each supplier. Importers may designate a third party to conduct a hazard analysis, a supplier risk evaluation, or to perform verification activities on their behalf.

Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream Returns to New York City

 Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream, a micro-lending and coaching program for small business owners working in food, beverage and craft brewing, announced it will host its regional Pitch Room competition and small business Speed Coaching event in Brooklyn, New York on Monday, November 16.

The Brewing the American Dream Pitch Room is a national competition that helps food and beverage business owners perfect the art of the sales pitch, as well as gain exposure to important food and beverage retailers and buyers. More information on the Pitch Room can be found at:

Starting at 5:00 p.m. ET at Berg’n (899 Bergen Street, Brooklyn, NY 11238), entrepreneurs will present their best sales pitch to a panel of expert judges including:

  • Jim Koch, Founder and Brewer of Samuel Adams
  • David Burke, American Chef and Restaurateur
  • Jonathan Butler, Co-Founder of Berg’n, Brooklyn Flea, Smorgasburg
  • John Holl, Journalist, Editor of All About Beer Magazine and American Craft Beer Cookbook
  • Farrah Shaikh McLaren, Food & Lifestyle Editor
  • Matthew Stinchcomb, Executive Director of

After providing critical, impactful advice to each of the participants, the judges will select a winner based on criteria including quality of pitch, creativity, passion, and product viability. The winner will be invited to participate in the finals in December, also in New York City, where they will compete with other regional winners from across the country for a $10,000 business grant, extended mentoring from Samuel Adams, and the potential for their product to be sold at leading retail locations.

New York City is one of the most difficult cities in which to start and grow a small food and beverage business, which is why our Brewing the American Dream events are so useful,” commented Jim Koch, Brewer and Founder of Samuel Adams. “We have worked with hundreds of small businesses in the area since bringing the program to New York City in 2011, and are really looking forward to continuing to support more passionate local entrepreneurs through nuts-and-bolts coaching, mentoring and advice to help give them a leg up.”

Koch noted that both regional winners from the NYC Pitch Room competitions over the last two years – Brewla Bars and Caputo Brothers Creamery – also went on to win the finals. Additionally, since the 2013 competition, Brewla Bars has entered more than 700 stores with its brewed ice pops and attributes the Brewing the American Dream program as a major catalyst for its recent growth opportunities.

Small Business Speed Coaching in New York City
The Speed Coaching portion of the evening, held from 7:00 pm to 9:30pm (EST), is a free event open to any small business owner in the food, beverage, and craft brewing industries. At the event, which is hosted in partnership with Accion, the nation’s leading nonprofit provider of small business capital and education, attendees will participate in up to six 20-minute, high-impact coaching sessions in areas such as sales and distribution, packaging, and finance with expert coaches from Samuel Adams, local area businesses, and Accion. Entrepreneurs are encouraged to bring questions about specific business challenges they face, as well as samples of packaging, point-of-sale items and other material on which they would like feedback. For more information on Speed Coaching, visit:

Year-Round Lending to Support Craft Brewing Competition 
Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream continues to support New York small businesses year-round, in partnership with Accion, by providing microloans to entrepreneurs who are often shut out of traditional lending institutions. Since 2008, the program has offered solutions to the barriers that many of these viable small businesses face – from lack of credit to requests for small loan amounts to surviving the volatile nature of the food and beverage industry – and provided more than $960,000 to nearly 100 food and beverage entrepreneurs in the New York area.

“Access to capital is one of the major obstacles small business owners continue to face,” said Paul Quintero, CEO of Accion in New York. “These entrepreneurs deserve the opportunity to take their innovative new business ideas to the next level, and through our partnership with Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream, we’re able to help them do just that.”

Brewing the American Dream Inspiration and Impact 
Samuel Adams is celebrating 31 years of brewing, and despite the craft brewery’s success, Jim Koch hasn’t forgotten how hard it is to start and run a successful small business. That’s why he created Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream, a unique program that provides the two things he wishes he had when starting Samuel Adams: financing and real-world business advice.

Since 2008, through the support of Brewing the American Dream, Accion has lent more than $6.4 million to nearly 625 businesses. Just as important, the program has coached or mentored over 5,000 businesses and created or saved more than 2,600 jobs. The program also has a repayment rate of 98.1 percent with all payments recycled and repurposed into new loans to help other small businesses. To learn more, visit:

KeHE Holiday Show Named as One of Fastest Growing

KeHE Distributors has been recognized for two awards from the Trade Show News Network (TSNN). KeHE’s Holiday & Product Innovation Show was named to TNSS’ list of “2015 Top 25 Fastest Growing Trade Shows in Attendance” and its list of “2015 Fastest Growing For-Profit Show in Attendance.” The show was chosen based on year-over-year attendance growth between 2012 and 2014. This is the first time KeHE has received these two awards. In 2013, the company’s Summer Selling Show was named to TSNN’s list of the “Top 25 Fastest-Growing Trade Shows in Attendance.”

The KeHE Holiday & Product Innovation Show has experienced double-digit attendance growth and doubled sales over the past several years. It is the only food-related trade show to achieve this distinction.

“We are laser-focused on the attendance at our events. Without the perfect mix of retailers and suppliers, we wouldn’t be able to create the robust buying and selling marketplace that we have today. Our attendees come from all over the U.S. and many parts of the world; it is our goal to make sure we provide an experience that is fruitful for everyone,” said Mike Leone, KeHE Chief Commercial Officer.

The KeHE Holiday & Product Innovation Show is held annually in June. In 2015, the two-day event brought together over 4,500 retailers and suppliers to see, sample, buy and sell products for the upcoming holiday season. New, emerging and familiar must-have items are sold throughout the show floor via proprietary, iPad ordering technology.

“Our retailer and supplier partners rely on our guidance on products that will perform well,” stated Brandon Barnholt, President and CEO of KeHE Distributors. “We believe it is critical that ‘We Make On Trend Easy™’ for them. One way we achieve this is by creating outstanding events that connect suppliers and retailers of all kinds. The passion and excitement for emerging products, as well as for more established brands is unmistakable at our shows.”

The KeHE shows are invitation-only events.

Three New Flavors of Meat Sticks from Vermont Smoke & Cure


By Lorrie Baumann

Vermont Smoke Cure imageVermont Smoke & Cure launched a bold new brand design and three new flavors of its Meat Sticks during this year’s Natural Products Expo East. Like the other half-dozen flavors of the better-for-you meat snacks in the line, the Spicy Italian Pork, Rosemary Thyme Chicken and Teriyaki Chicken Sticks are gluten free and contain considerably less fat and salt than competing meat sticks.

We are working to make the whole meat business better – with new products made from vegetarian-fed meats that are raised with no antibiotics or added hormones,” says Chris Bailey, Vermont Smoke & Cure’s CEO. “Our new packaging look better conveys our clean ingredients and the positive impact we work to bring about in our community and landscape.”

Vermont Smoke & Cure Meat Sticks start with quality meat. Beef in the sticks comes from lead supplier Pineland Farms Natural Meats in Maine or other similar suppliers. Pork comes from DuBreton in Quebec or from Coleman Natural Foods, which works with family farmers throughout the country to produce meat raised entirely without antibiotics.

Our Sticks don’t have overwhelming flavors – you get nice spice and you can still taste the meat,” Bailey says. “It’s all ingredients you’d find in your kitchen, just meat and spices with no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.”

The Sticks have been the fastest-growing part of our business,” he added. “The bacon has been growing quite well also, but the Sticks have been outpacing it.”

To fulfill the demand for its products, the company just installed the equipment for quadrupling its processing capacity. Its Meat Sticks, which retail for $1.69 to $1.99, are currently distributed nationally in Whole Foods and through major natural foods distributors to hundreds of co-ops and natural and conventional grocers around the country.

For more information, visit


Gourmet Sausage from the Heart of Montana


By Lorrie Baumann

Uncle Bill’s Sausages started with a breakfast burrito. Today, Uncle Bill’s Sausages makes 50 varieties of sausage that are sold in supermarkets across Montana.

That breakfast burrito came into the story when Bill Stoianoff went to San Francisco to attend the Winter Fancy Food Show. He was staying with a friend, and he thought he’d make her a nice breakfast burrito one morning to help show his gratitude for the lodging. To make his burrito, he says, you boil a potato the night before, and then in the morning, you cube it up, dice an onion and fry it, and you scramble an egg with some sausage in it. He’d bought some chorizo to put into it, but when he opened the package and looked at it, it scared him so badly that he just tossed it into the garbage. “It was one of those aha moments where you think, ‘I could do this better,’ and that’s what I do,” he says. “I said, ‘You know, I could make this from pork shoulder, and it would be better.’”

That started something. In 1987, he went to New Orleans to take lessons in andouille. “I had a letter of introduction, and in the South, a proper introduction is everything,” he says. “I couldn’t get the good stuff, so I learned to make it.”

Uncle Bill Making Sausage at K C Foods 003He came back to Montana from New Orleans, met up with a friend who was opening a Cajun restaurant and made up a batch of the andouille he’d just learned to make. “We were in business after that,” he says. “I used to make it in a teeny kitchen in the back of a bar that was about three phone booths big.” Then after a few years, a butcher who was supplying him with his meat offered him the use of his kitchen, and Stoianoff made his sausage there for the next 15 years. “It’s just kind of the Montana way of things,” he says. “You just say, ‘This seems like a good idea,’ and run with it.”

For the past nine years, he’s been making his sausage in a commercial processing kitchen called the Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center in Ronan, Montana. It’s a hundred-mile drive from Stoianoff’s home in Missoula, but it’s worth the drive because it’s also a US Department of Agriculture-inspected facility, which allows for commercial production. “Before that, I could only sell in the farmers market,” Stoianoff says. “Now I can sell to grocery stores.”

It’s just wonderful. I went to Bozeman to get more USDA training,” he says. “To do USDA, you have to be perfect. But once you’re certified, people will buy it because they know it comes from a completely clean situation.”

Stoianoff insists on using only high-quality ingredients. “No preservatives, no additives, no fillers, low fat, low salt, and I grind all my spices from whole just before I use them,” he says. “It’s made with pork shoulder. No noses, hoses or roses. They call that offal for a reason.”


Citarella and Chefs Deliver for Citymeals-on-Wheels

Citymeals-on-Wheels Board Member Yusi Gurrera of Citarella – a top destination for gourmet groceries and fine prepared foods – delivered meals to homebound elderly New Yorkers as part of the Chefs Deliver for Citymeals program.

A Citymeals initiative, Chefs Deliver brings together a rotating cast of culinary stars who, once a month, lend their talents to Citymeals – cooking and often personally delivering the meals to the doors of New Yorkers who are too frail to shop and cook for themselves. Chefs Deliver was launched in January 2014 by Citymeals Board of Directors Co-President Chef Daniel Boulud and Citymeals Board Member Chef Charlie Palmer.

Yusi Gurrera packing meals

Yusi Gurrera packing meals Photo by Eric Groom

Citarellaprepared a total of 100 meals consisting of salmon Florentine and bruschetta, quinoa salad and sautéed peas and mushrooms. Gurrera, Citymeals Executive Director Beth Shapiro, and four Citarella store managers hand-delivered several meals to Citymeals recipients living in Greenwich Village. The remainder of the 100 meals was delivered to recipients on the Upper East Side.

A longtime Board Member and supporter of Citymeals, Gurrera will be honored at Citymeals’ 29th Annual “Power Lunch for Women” on Friday, November 20. Later this month, Citarella will kick off its annual “Round Up for Citymeals-on-Wheels” program.  Running from Thanksgiving through December 31, 2015, customers at participating Citarella stores will be asked if they would like to make a donation to Citymeals at checkout. Participating locations include all New York City and Hamptons stores. Over the years, Citarella has raised over $620,000 for Citymeals through the “Round-Up” program.

“With Thanksgiving just weeks away, it’s important for us to remember those who are in need, especially our frail aged neighbors who live behind closed doors,” noted Shapiro. “Citymeals is extremely grateful to Yusi and Citarella for participating in Chefs Deliver this month and for their ‘Round-Up’ beginning in just a few weeks. We also look forward to honoring Yusi at our Power Lunch for Women.”

Citymeals-on-Wheels prepares and delivers weekend, holiday and emergency meals for 18,000 homebound elderly New Yorkers. More than 60 percent of Citymeals recipients are over 80 years old; 23 percent are over 90; more than 200 have lived at least a century. All recipients are chronically disabled by conditions such as vision loss, diabetes, arthritis and heart disease. Nearly all need assistance walking. It is estimated that 66 percent use a cane, 39 percent use a walker and 16 percent use a wheelchair. Citymeals recipients are also isolated: 57 percent live alone; 40 percent rarely or never leave their homes; 8 percent have no one with whom they can talk. Many are also at risk for malnutrition.

10th Annual Fabulous Food Show Presented by Giant Eagle Market District

The 10th annual Fabulous Food Show, presented by Giant Eagle Market District, returns to the I-X Center in Cleveland, OhioNovember 13-15, 2015.  Guests can taste, try and buy their way through America’s largest presentation of fine food, fine art, breweries, wineries, restaurants and purveyors all under one roof.  This premier culinary celebration is a massive event, featuring 10 different performance stages with more than 100 live demonstrations and hundreds of companies showcasing specialty foods and culinary gadgets.  The floor plan is equivalent in size to seven football fields.  The event attracted 27,219 visitors to Cleveland in 2014 from twenty-six states and parts of Canada.

A terrific roster of renowned celebrity talent will appear throughout the weekend for live demonstrations, experiential events and fan engagement.  Stars include Cleveland’s own Iron Chef, Michael Symon, co-host of ABC’s “The Chew” and star of TLC’s hit series “Cake Boss,” Buddy Valastro.  Bravo’s Emmy winning “Top Chef” series judge Gail Simmons and co-star of Food Network’s hit series “Chopped” Aarón Sánchez, America’s most popular Latin Chef.  “Rachel Ray Show” correspondent Jason Roberts returns for his 10thstraight year to emcee.  Culinary comedian Mark DeCarlo, “Food Network Star” Season 8 finalist Martie Duncan and ABC’s “Shark Tank” winner Kim ‘Daisy’ Nelson are back this year.

Sculptor Natalie Sideserf, dubbed by Food Network ‘one of the most talented young cake artists in the country’, will make her first appearance, along with legendary singer/actor Frankie Avalon, who will launch a new product line of his famous family recipes and a companion cookbook.  Independent music legends The Samples add a flavorful sound with a ‘Concert in the Kitchen’ along with Cleveland’s favorite local Newgrass act Honeybucket who will perform at the Michael Symon Block Party.

The World Food Champion, to be crowned Tuesday, November 10 in Kissimmee, Florida, will make his/her first national appearance accompanied by World Food Championships (WFC) CEO, Mike McCord.  Each will be on hand to discuss the genesis and future of competitive “Food Sport,” as well as to certify an eager new crop of judges through the WFC E.A.T. methodology class.

New This Year

Street Scene & Stage
A gathering of the best food trucks in northeast Ohio with ongoing demonstrations all weekend. Attendees will also see Tri-C Hospitality Management students compete in a variety of mystery basket challenges. All stage performances are included with admission.  Seating is first come, first served.

Concert in the Kitchen
With 20 albums and over 1 million records sold, The Samples continue to delight fans with music that transcends age and genres.  Lead Singer/Guitarist Sean Kelly & The Samples will bring their unique sound on Saturday, November 14 from  6:30-8 p.m. live from the Giant Eagle Market District Theatre.

Happy Hour with Gail Simmons
Join Food + Wine Magazine Special Projects Director Gail Simmons from 6:30-7:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 14 for specialty cocktail and food samples while enjoying sounds of The Samples. (Additional charges apply for alcohol sampling. Must be 21 or older to participate.)

Art of Food 

Confection displays, cake sculpting by Natalie Sideserf, Ice Carving Demonstrations by Aaron Costic of Elegant Ice, Specialty cakes from Anna Weisendof the Grand Finale, and cheese and produce carving demonstrations from George Niemoeller and a team of culinary professionals.

Culinary Connection Showcase
An exhibitor product display connecting consumers with new and featured products in the show.

The Hot Spot Pavilion
Fiery food and salsa sampling along with voting for a people’s choice award

Gospel Brunch presented by House of Blues Cleveland
House of Blues Cleveland will bring a taste of their world famous Gospel Brunch to the Fabulous Food Show on Sunday, November 15 from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Enjoy live music in the Giant Eagle Market District Theatre led by award winning keyboardist Lafayette Carthon included with show admission.  Brunch will be served in the Fabulous Bistro.  (Additional charges apply for food and alcohol.)


Thursday, November 12, 2015: 3rd Annual Cleveland Culinary Awards Gala (6:30-9:30 p.m.)
Friday, November 13, 201510:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, November 14, 201510:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, November 15, 201510:00 a.m. – 6:00p.m.

TICKETS: $19.99 – $75.00 Kids 12 & Under: FREE General Admission: $24.99 (Advance Online)Reserved Seating including General Admission: $44.99 (Advance Online) Signature Events/VIP Meet & Greet: $30.00 each (does not include GA – separate ticket required) Cleveland Culinary Awards Gala: $75.00 (Online)

Promotional Discounts:
Super Saver General Admission: $19.99 (Available at Giant Eagle and Giant Eagle Market District)
GA & Reserved Discount/Signature Events: $22.99-$42.99 (Available at select Ohio Discount Drug Mart store locations)

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